Archive for November, 2005

by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 30th, 2005 8:54pm CST | Comments Off on Barry Hartzog: One Of Memphis’ Best

On those days when discouraged about the course of Memphis events and with questions about the future that seem to have few answers, I always find encouragement in the realization that the real strength of Memphis does not reside in the halls of government or the board rooms of corporate leaders, but in the simple […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 30th, 2005 11:03am CST | Comments Off on It’s Time For Memphis City Schools To Take Center Stage In Educational Decisions

More and more, educational decisions in Memphis and Shelby County are the tail wagging the dog. It’s a strange local phenomenon that it’s not the needs of the nation’s 18th largest school district – Memphis City Schools – that drive the debate on school funding and school site decisions. Instead, it’s the much smaller Shelby […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 29th, 2005 5:31pm CST | Comments Off on Guiding Principles For Public Investments

To continue the conversation about what investments Memphis should make, here’s a few guiding principles: 1) Invest in people 2) Build state-of-the-art infrastructure 3) Treat citizens as customers 4) Streamline taxes and regulations 5) Nurture entrepreneurs 6) Create hi-tech magnets 7) Preserve and improve the quality of life

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 29th, 2005 10:33am CST | Comments Off on What Would We Have Done with the Money?

Just a few additional thoughts on where to invest then and now… + Clean Up. This is one basic that wasn’t mentioned in the earlier post. Long-time Memphians took special pride in being the “Cleanest City in America” for years. So the continuing and obvious decline in the cleanliness of our streets and neighborhoods has […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 28th, 2005 2:06am CST | Comments Off on Nashville Mayor Wraps Up $100 Million Park Improvement Plan

While Mayor Herenton suggests the sale of Memphis parks, Nashville is one of many cities investing in their parkland to make their city more competitive in the knowledge-based economy. Here’s a recent article from the Nashville Tennesseean that updates the efforts of their mayor to improve Nashville parks: Mayor Bill Purcell paid a rare visit […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 23rd, 2005 2:40am CST | Comments Off on Kicking The Addiction to Tax Freezes

The continuing controversy about tax freezes is about to come to a climax with the release of the long-awaited consultant’s report on Memphis and Shelby County’s economic development strategies and its overreliance on PILOTs (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) in the recruitment of new business. The report will be released in early December, but already, its rumored conclusions are […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 22nd, 2005 2:23am CST | Comments Off on The Local Tax Problem Won’t Be Solved By Putting Band-aids On Gaping Structural Wounds

Soon, we will enter yet another budget season for local government, and once again, there will be the regular hue and cry about the tax rate, bonded indebtedness, fund balances and the need for public sacrifice. But for the first time, there’s hope that local government will finally talk about fixing what’s really wrong — […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 21st, 2005 2:15am CST | Comments Off on County Towns Can Also Give Away County Taxes

Just when you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to tax freezes, you find out there’s always one more way to give away county tax money. In that parallel universe where $60 million of tax dollars has entered the black hole of business incentives, nothing is stranger than the ability of the smaller […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 18th, 2005 2:19am CST | Comments Off on It’s Time For City And County To Charter A Plane To Mineola

On September 14, we wrote about the “Miracle at Mineola,” spotlighting a Democratic county executive whose brand of direct leadership conquered disastrous budgetary threats and halved the portion of his budget going to pay debt service. At the time, we suggested that Shelby County officials should get a plane ticket and go learn his lessons, […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 17th, 2005 2:29am CST | Comments Off on Where’s State Government When Memphis And Shelby County Business Incentives Are Paid?

Next time we’re recruiting an international corporate headquarters like International Paper to Memphis, maybe we should call the governor. In the case of Nissan North America, state government is giving almost $200 million in incentives over the next 20 years to lure the company to the Nashville area. In case you’re counting, that means that […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 16th, 2005 2:02am CST | Comments Off on Pondering the Imponderables # 4

It was the quote that caught our eye. “For every dollar that comes into the city and county coffers, $1.57 will have to be paid in social costs,” argued Bill Wheeler, executive director of Families First, in his opposition to video gambling in West Memphis. Gosh, we thought he was talking about Wal-Mart. * Shep […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 15th, 2005 2:28am CST | Comments Off on Schools Are A Vital Part Of Smart Growth Strategy

As a followup to yesterday’s blog about the influence of development interests over county school site decisions, this article from the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser indicates that some places are coming to grips with the role that schools should be playing on smart growth issues: Written by Chad Emerson Since March, Jones School of Law and […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 14th, 2005 2:36am CST | Comments Off on On High School Site Decision In Southeast Shelby County, It’s Business As Usual

Sadly, the city school board members blinked, never seeming to understand it was because the county school board’s finger was in their eye. Instead of ushering in a badly needed “new day” for school location decisions, in the end, Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners seemed to go along to get along. While the news […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 11th, 2005 2:52am CST | Comments Off on Falling Behind Our Rival Cities In A Wireless Age

In our blog of October 12, we bemoaned Memphis’ tendency to be cautious and ignore trends until they’re commonplace everywhere else, and then rush to copy them here. The subject on that occasion was Wi-Fi, which is being developed by a number of cities which see it as the backbone for their infrastructure of the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 10th, 2005 2:04am CST | Comments Off on Much Remains To Be Done On The Recommendations For Shelby Farms Park

It’s now been 10 months since the special Shelby Farms Park Advisory Committee agreed on its recommendations for the 4,500 acres of parkland in the heart of our county, but so far, only one of the recommendations has been acted on. In the wake of the resolution of the controversial Kirby-Whitten Highway through Shelby Farms […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 8th, 2005 2:30am CST | Comments Off on Katrina’s Implications for Disaster Management: Lessons Learned From New Orleans

Since Hurricane Katrina, we’ve written about the lack of a cohesive, well-coordinated disaster plan for the Memphis region and about the confusion over the powers of the Emergency Management Agency and the regional Homeland Security Committee. The following article from www.planetizen.com offers some timely reminders about some basic lessons that would make a good beginning […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 7th, 2005 2:58am CST | Comments Off on Historic Road Design Process Produces Historic Results

For a generation, the proposed highway through Shelby Farms Park has been political quicksand that trapped county mayor after county mayor. Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton – with the considerable help of Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely – not only has escaped the trap, but he can now claim credit for the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 4th, 2005 2:47am CST | Comments Off on U.S. Census Bureau Numbers On Commuting Could Fuel Payroll Tax Move

Every day, the population of Memphis swells by 102,743 people who flood into the city to work. In fact, the percentage of population change that is due to commuting – 15.8 percent – is one of the highest for cities with populations of more than 500,000. These are the first-ever estimates on daytime population changes […]

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